Our world wins big time when you – yes you – are healthy and contributive.
Especially as a parent.
I want to encourage you to leverage the age we live in – this highly connected, no-return technological world where we’ve arrived – to your advantage when you parent your children. For your good. For their good. And for the good of our world.
What do I mean by this? Let’s start with three major parenting challenges:
1 | Parenting is hard. There must be ways to make it not just easier, but more satisfying and fulfilling – even in the moment.
2 | Technology is pervasive. You, as a parent of kids ages 0-15, have a love-hate relationship with technology, especially as it relates to your parenting. Figuring out how to turn technology into an asset in your parenting – not a liability – is an arduous task.
3 | You want to raise well-balanced, contributive kids. You seek to nurture kids with a healthy understanding of themselves and our world. You don’t want to raise kids who will be a drain on society. And you want to have an excellent relationship with your adult kids in the future. But, circling back to the top – it’s hard!
If you agree all three of these challenges are front-and-center in your experience, then this post – and YourGlobalFamily – is for you. We will briefly look at each of these challenges in a series of three posts. This is the first, and we’ll address item #1:
Parenting is hard
It’s so easy in the midst of parenting of young children (and even elementary aged and beyond) to get lost in the reality of this truth: You are doing the most important job on the planet.
Why is this true?
Because you, as a parent, hold the opportunity to shape the current and future lives of people. Not just projects. Not even policies or politics. People.
You have influence to shape a human being to become a mass murderer (through abuse, violence, neglect and many other means) or a head of state, a lifelong convict or a Nobel Prize winner, a heroin addict or a researcher who cures cancer. (Or a head of state Nobel Prize winner who cures cancer!)
Like so many of the everyday miracles in life, raising a child is both ordinary and extraordinary.
On parenting well
Most of us just found ourselves one day on the job. Well, of course, it didn't happen quite like that. But still, the truth is few of us get good training in how to do the job of parenting well. And many of us have to contend with – and overcome – the dysfunctional aspects of our own upbringings to boot.
This issue is compounded by the fact that there really is no cookie-cutter approach to parenting since every child and every parent is different, family dynamics are as plentiful and unique as snowflakes, and, well, it’s simply a tough job!
But there are principles you can stand upon. You can choose to be the parent and not simply co-opt the job to the kids. Yes, really. Some parents are so lenient they let the child’s wants completely overwhelm them and dictate the tone in the home.
The opposite, of course, are parents who rule with an authoritarian, “I’m-the-parent-and-I-know-best” approach, leaving little leeway for children to express themselves and become self-driven in their sense of responsibility.
As a parent, you need to learn an approach of parenting that gradually allows children to grow in responsibility and freedom. You need to step back, bit-by-bit, to give your children more opportunity to grow – and, at times, fail. And yet you need to be there for them into their young adulthood (and throughout life, until the roles may reverse).
My husband, a veteran high school English teacher, has written extensively on this process in his new book, Parenting from the Periphery, set to release this spring (2019). If you’re interested in knowing when this book becomes available, please contact us here.
The ripple effect of good parenting
Let’s remember this: Even with the challenge of raising kids (and this has existed across time and place), the value of doing a good job cannot be overstated. You can, indeed, change the world by how you raise your child(ren). It is both an astonishing and often intimidating responsibility.
You can, indeed, change the world by how you raise your child(ren).
Our world needs parents to step up their game! We need healthy, functioning individuals to form loving families to produce stable human beings who can contribute to a vibrant future, not to the downfall of humanity.
When we are healthy, whole and thriving on the micro level – and when this is multiplied throughout society – a wave of reason, light and health can lift others and buoy a society – and the world.
This is why I write. I know the value of good parenting (even if done by someone other than the actual biological parents) deeply matters for a society, a culture, a nation and our world to function well. I see the clear connection. And I want to help more and more people connect those dots, too.
More to come!
How do you make this connection between better self, better parenting and better world?